The Australian Men’s Water Polo Team have taken out the 2017 Water Polo By The Sea defeating the International All Stars 16-15, in front of a packed house at Bondi Icebergs.
Both teams were up against it with large swells making for a ‘washing machine’ in the pool – at times seeing referees washed into the pool, goals going under and players catching waves in the pool.
But that didn’t stop from the game delivering some quality competition, with the Aussie Sharks playing together for the first time since the Rio Olympics.
Captain Rhys Howden said it was always good to be back with the boys and play in front of a great crowd.
“It was pretty fun. It was literally like putting the goals out in the ocean and playing out there,” said Howden.
“It was great to get up against the all-stars. They brought out some superstars and it was great to challenge ourselves against them.”
In goals Joel Dennerley had a tougher task compared to regular games, trying to dodge the goals as they were battered by the waves. Like Howden, he was happy to be back with his Rio team mates along with some fresh faces.
“We love playing together as a national team,” Dennerley said.
“It was a good chance for us to come together after a little break following Rio so we had plenty of fun today.”
The Aussie side was challenged throughout the match but eventually got the win against a team that included a host of global stars including Rio gold medallists Filip Filipovic and Dusko Pljetlovic of Serbia, four-time Olympian Willy Molina of Spain and London 2012 Italian silver medallist Maurizio Felugo.
“Those guys are in the middle of their seasons over in Europe so to have them come out and have an exhibition match like they did today for the young kids to see was great,” added Dennerley.
“To play against those world class players in Australia was a great experience.”
The Australian men’s team now turn their attention to the World League Tournament in April ahead of the World Championships later in Budapest in July.